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Wounded Warrior Stephen Valyou finds the thrill of mono-skiing

Stephen Valyou, Explosive Ordinance Disposal, Retired Army, is used to adrenaline. It’s no surprise he’s taken to mono-skiing. “I like the adrenaline rush. I was an EOD tech. Nothing is going to equal the rush of walking towards an IED and seeing if its going to explode,” said Stephen. “I like being outside. I like skiing with my son, Nathaniel. I enjoy that we can do this together and look forward to when I’m independent and we can do this together as a family, along with my wife Melissa.”

Stephen, Melissa and Nathaniel Valyou

Stephen came up to the Adaptive Sports Foundation to try mono-skiing this January at ASF’s Winter Support our Troops event. ASF instructors Doug Layman, Jim Foster and I Tai Lu showed patience and expertise as they coached Stephen. And they went the extra mile. “The Support our Troops Weekend program was supposed to end at noon on Sunday. My instructors told me they’d stay as long as I wanted to ski,” said Stephen. “They took me out Sunday afternoon on their personal time and continued to work with me. It showed me their dedication and willingness to do things for an adaptive skier.”

The proper set-up for a mono-skier varies with each individual. ASF staff member Adam DeMuth worked with Stephen to get his set-up just right. “With the set-up I have now it seems like I’m skiing the ski and not fighting each turn. I’m more relaxed,” said Stephen.

Stephen returned to ASF to ski a number of times this season and he is becoming increasingly independent. He’d like to participate in next winter’s Support our Troops event at a level where he can assist another individual learning to mono-ski. “I learn best by seeing and watching. I was able to watch I Tai on his mono-ski. Next year I’d like to be able to assist and help a student relate to another mono-skier.”